Susan Collins Was Confident Brett Kavanaugh Wouldn’t Overturn Roe v. Wade. She Was Wrong.

by | Jun 24, 2022 | Politics

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was extremely confident ahead of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 confirmation that he wouldn’t vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. On Friday, he did just that. In his concurring opinion dismantling the half-century-old precedent that protected abortion rights, Kavanaugh wrote that “a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in American history and tradition.”AdvertisementExplaining his decision to overturn a long-standing precedent, Kavanaugh added, “Adherence to precedent is the norm, and stare decisis imposes a high bar before this Court may overrule a precedent. This Court’s history shows, however, that stare decisis is not absolute, and indeed cannot be absolute.”Stare decisis, which means “to stand by things decided” in Latin, is a legal principle that favors leaving past rulings intact.Democrats and reproductive groups repeatedly warned that Kavanaugh, a long-time conservative lawyer, represented a fundamental threat to abortion rights after he was nominated by President Donald Trump, who had vowed to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. But Collins, a supporter of abortion rights, waved off those concerns. She said that Kavanaugh had assured her that Roe was settled law. “To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article III of our Constitution itself,” Collins said in a fiery Oct. 2018 speech on the Senate floor. “He said decisions become part of our legal framework with the passage of time and that honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence.”AdvertisementShe added: “In his testimony, he noted repeatedly that Roe had been upheld by Planned Parenthood v. Casey, describing it as ‘precedent on precedent.’”Republicans looked past Collins’ assurances that Kavanaugh wouldn’t do the very thing he had been picked by Trump and the conservative legal establishment to do and applauded the senator for her floor speech, which assured his confirmation. After a leaked draft of the Roe opinion was reported in May, Collins said the decision “would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office.” She declined further comment until the official opinion was released.Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who also voted for Kavanaugh, suggested he and Justice Neil Gorsuch weren’t honest with the Senate about their views on Roe.“I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am …

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